TACLOBAN CITY—Given an “undeniable trend” in natural calamities, disaster mitigation and post-disaster response, both short-term and strategic long-term rehabilitation, should be prioritized and should therefore take up a considerable portion of the national budget, a group of Typhoon Yolanda survivors said here Tuesday.
“Post-disaster reports should serve as a reminder to our government that the new normal will require allocating bigger—not smaller—budgets for disaster response,” said Danny Carranza, Advocacy Lead Person of the Community of Yolanda Survivors and Partners.
Carranza said the government has yet to clarify why it cut by more than half the 2017 budget for the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council and how the Yolanda reconstruction completion will be funded.
“The public, particularly the victims of Typhoon “Yolanda” and other recent calamities, need to be assured that there will be adequate fund for emergency response in future typhoons and other possible disasters,” CYSP said in a statement.
The New Year welcomed typhoon victims “with unfortunate news,” the group said, as President Rodrigo Duterte signed the 2017 national budget with only P15.7 billion allocated for the NDRRMC Fund—a P23-billion decrease from the calamity funds of the previous administration.
Considering that typhoon-related disasters “have been the new normal in recent years, humanitarian organizations express strong concern at this reduced appropriation for disaster response,” CYSP added.
The group cited a report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, which said the Philippines ranked fourth among countries stricken with the most number of disasters. In 2016 alone, 26 storms and 12 typhoons wreaked havoc on the country.
The most recent one, Typhoon “Nina” (international name Nock-Ten), made landfall on Christmas Day and caused a total of P5.1 billion damage to infrastructure and agriculture, according to the latest report by the NDRRMC.
A total of 424,223 families or 1,893,404 persons were affected in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, and Eastern Visayas, leaving three persons dead and 21 others missing in Calabarzon, CYSP noted.
Moreover, state weather forecaster Pagasa has reported that the number of destructive tropical cyclones had increased in recent years, the group added.
In 2015, the Philippines endured 15 disasters. In 2014, major typhoons that caused the most damage were Typhoons Glenda, Mario, and Ruby. In 2013, 14 destructive tropical cyclones entered the country, the most devastating of which was Super Typhoon Yolanda.